THE BLIND BOY AND THE LOON and Other Eskimo Myths by Ramona Maher

THE BLIND BOY AND THE LOON and Other Eskimo Myths

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Harsher in spirit and less inviting in appearance than Ronald Melzack's The Day Tuk Became a Hunter and other Eskimo Stories (1968, p. 54, J-26), this is, however, a collection of considerable interest as reading and resource -- in both cases because the events are curious, the responses equally so. Of the seven stories, one of the most titillating tells how wily Raven ends the rich man's monopoly of light by infiltrating his household in the guise of an infant -- the sudden issue of his unwed, unwary daughter -- and then caterwauls until he is given the hanging ball of light to keep him quiet. A variant of this appears in Melzack, a variant of the title story in Caswell's less successful Shadows from the Singing House (1968, p. 339, J-119), but by and large there is little overlap (not with the Gillham collections either); Mrs. Maher has intentionally omitted some of the familiar legends and her tales tend to be longer and more intricate as well as less benign. But along with the cruelty and retubution there's the tenderness of ""The Man Who Married the Snow Goose"" and a few brief tales, like ""How Thunder and Lightning Came To Be,"" (via the make-believe of a desolate brother and sister) that are suited for retelling. It's unfortunate that no specific sources are given, unfortunates too that the illustrations, a sampling of Eskimo work, have little relation to the text beyond the blue ink in which both are (unattractively) printed. But the stories have drive and bite.

Pub Date: June 26th, 1969
Publisher: John Day